The deadline for adjournment of the spring legislative session in the Illinois General Assembly has come and gone without even a draft FY24 state budget shown to legislators. The behind-closed-doors method of compiling state budgets is nothing new for Illinois, but Republicans remained hopeful recent changes to leadership in both the House and the Senate would result in bipartisan agreement. Unfortunately, little has changed and the minority party remains in the dark about budget discussions.
When one party has complete control over the government, it leads to little bipartisan cooperation on critical issues. Calls for open conversations regarding budget discussions have gone ignored by the House Democrats as they continue to draft and edit the budget alone. This process of partisan budgeting is not only disingenuous but prevents fair representation for all the people of Illinois and their diverse needs.
This lack of transparency surrounding the budget process is reminiscent of the Madigan-era tactics we have all been promised are over. Drafting $50 billion budgets of thousands of pages behind closed doors with mere hours of review and debate before a vote are just some of the tactics utilized by Illinois Democrats for decades. This process is just one of the reasons why the people of Illinois have lost faith in their government to operate honestly and ethically.
It is time to move forward as a state and to leave the deceitful legacy of unethical political leaders behind. Giving Republicans, and the millions of Illinoisans we represent, a seat at the table for budget discussions is critical to ensure a fair and balanced budget is passed that can benefit every part of the state of Illinois. The problems Illinois faces will never be solved if the government is run in an echo chamber of partisan political ideology that prevents a cooperative and productive discussion of varying ideas.